Over the last week Bayern Munich reignited their interested for Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi. It was real and it is over now so what did it mean?
Roughly a year and a half ago, Callum Hudson-Odoi saw no pathway to the first team. He had done everything he was supposed to. He trained well enough to earn the attention of the senior players and he played well enough in limited opportunities to play more. Maurizio Sarri wasn’t having it. With Bayern Munich interested, Hudson-Odoi made the choice to keep his career alive when he submitted a transfer request.
Fast forward to the present. Since submitting that transfer request, Hudson-Odoi has played in 53 matches, scoring eight goals and getting eight assists in that time. This is including a long injury lay off in the middle of it. Bayern came back in after that with a loan to buy offer of £70 million. It was only an option, not an obligation, but even still that should have been enough to at least give the board pause.
It didn’t. Frank Lampard has been adamant about Hudson-Odoi recently and has given him the chances to earn a spot. In recent games, the winger has done just that. But the question has to be asked about these rumors. What do they really mean? And is there an acceptable price if it comes down to it?
Many are taking Bayern’s interest as a positive. Something along the lines of “if Bayern wants him, surely he is special”. It is not a bad argument. After all, Bayern wanted him nearly sight unseen a year and a half ago. Now they have seen more, albeit not a great deal more, and they were willing to potentially drop £70 million on him as if he were going to walk into the starting XI.
The problem with the argument is it assumes Bayern are right by virtue of being Bayern and it assumes what Chelsea has seen has been incorrect. No one can say Callum Hudson-Odoi has not been given chances since his injury. The issue is that he simply hasn’t looked like a £70 million player for Chelsea. Yes, there are flashes of that talent and many times those flashes have earned him starts. In equal measure, however, there is a very raw player that is inconsistent.
Just looking at this season, Hudson-Odoi was a late sub against Brighton. He did not do particularly well and this is when the loan rumors began. He was given a start against Barnsley but on a day when the team won 6-0, Hudson-Odoi was really the only player that was simply fine. His teammates were almost all exceptional against the Championship side to a man.
Those bad days behind him, Hudson-Odoi was phenomenal against West Brom, arguably allowing the Blues back into it by himself. He was again rewarded with a start in the cup against Tottenham where he was inconsistent, but overall came out more in the positive than the negative. His follow up match against Crystal Palace was much better consistency wise, though it did not have the same peaks as other matches.
That is pretty much Hudson-Odoi; peaks and valleys. Of course, that is not unexpected of a young player, but it also doesn’t make them worth £70 million to Chelsea. Had there been an obligation to buy and Hudson-Odoi pushed for the move at all, it is hard to see the club turning it down.
That being said, letting Hudson-Odoi go would have been exclusively a board decision. Lampard has been very clear he wants the winger to stay. Hudson-Odoi leaving would have been done without the manager’s sanction and then all of a sudden it would have been back to business as usual for the Blues.
This will be a big season for Hudson-Odoi. Bayern has been in for him twice now and the next offer, should it come, will be ludicrous. At times, the winger has shown why he is so sought after. The only issue is he does not do so consistently enough. He will have to change that and reward Lampard’s faith in him if the Blues are to keep him for a probably inevitable third offer.